We shouldnt fall for pessimistic propaganda on Iraq

Parts of an interesting opinion from the Times today, worth a read.

Singapore’s elder statesman, Lee Kuan Yew, sheds fascinating light on another question dominating discussion in the last year — are we losing in Iraq? Lee recalls that, not long after the Vietnam conflict ended, he argued that America may have lost in Indochina but that those 58,000 American lives were not sacrificed in vain. They bought time for the rest of East Asia to attain economic prosperity and stability — and the communists exhausted themselves in the struggle. Judged by the snapshot of 1975, America lost the battle. But in the longer term, it won the war for the wider region.

Many years hence, will Iraq come to be viewed in the same light? From 2005, the jihadi world was riven by a dispute between al-Qaeda’s Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his mentor, Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi. Al-Maqdisi stated that al-Zarqawi’s priorities were askew. Iraq was the wrong war, at the wrong place, at the wrong time. It was rapidly becoming a “crematory” for the flower of Islamist youth. No energies were left for wider Islamist revolution elsewhere in the region.

Although al-Zarqawi was killed, he has for now won the debate. Again, this fascinating controversy received too little attention in the British media — perhaps because it didn’t fit into the easy narrative of Anglo-American humiliation in Iraq.

That conventional wisdom holds that Tony Blair and George Bush made the world a much more dangerous place by invading Iraq. That we’re losing badly in Iraq, if we haven’t already lost. That Mr Blair is “riding pillion” to President Bush — and that if he didn’t do so, we would probably all be much safer.

In that sense, the Archbishop of Canterbury rounded 2006 off perfectly, declaring in this newspaper that Anglo-American “firepower” in Iraq had triggered an explosion of extremism that made life far harder for Christians across the Middle East. His line is reminiscent of the old Yiddish joke about two Jews in front of a firing squad in Tsarist Russia. One suggests: “Let’s make a run for it.” Replies the other: “Shhh, don’t make trouble.”

Never mind the ideological, political and physical assault on Christians all across the Middle East and Asia since the 1970s — fuelled by the rise of Wahhabist ideology. Never mind that Christian communities there have been in decline for at least a century. Rather like the Islamists, Dr Williams prefers to lay the blame for the deplorable condition of the Middle East’s Christians at the door of Great Satan and Little Satan. Short of blaming the Jews for the tsunami — as some Muslim radicals did in 2004 — the Archbishop did a wonderful job of letting the real sources of evil off the hook.

In full

It's an interesting interpretation of events.

Latest Threads